NMI Ranked 3rd Fastest Growing Tourist Destination In The World

In 2016 the Northern Mariana Islands tourism arrivals grew by 37.3 percent with 531,000 visitors

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, August 25, 2017) – The Northern Mariana Islands was ranked the third-fastest growing tourist destination in the world, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization or UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

The latest published data from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which was also reported by CNN, indicated that destinations worldwide received 369 million international tourists in the first four months of 2017. This figure is 21 million more in the same period in 2016, representing a 6 percent increase in worldwide arrivals. International arrivals reported by destinations around the world were positive overall and varied by region.

In 2016, the Northern Mariana Islands tourism arrivals grew by 37.3 percent with 531,000 visitors in 2016. The Palestinian territories and Egypt locked down the top two spots in the world above the CNMI at growth rates of 57.8 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

“As we celebrate 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, we welcome the continued development of tourism and recall that with growth comes increased responsibility to ensure tourism can contribute to sustainability in all its three pillars — economic, social and environmental. Growth is never the enemy and it is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said.

The UNWTO also reported positive prospects for the May-August period for the world tourism market. According to the organization’s latest press release, the current strong momentum is reflected in the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts confidence index.

Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Christopher A. Concepcion said the latest ranking is a collective accomplishment for the CNMI.

“The Marianas Visitors Authority is extremely pleased to see The Marianas ranked the third-fastest growing tourist destination in the world by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. This sets us apart from hundreds of competing destinations in our region and from around the world, and we are very honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization like the UNWTO. We commend all tourism industry stakeholders in the CNMI and abroad for this tremendous accomplishment,” he said.

Concepcion noted that MVA has embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign in all major source countries and are seeing the hard work pay off with the large growth in arrivals the past couple years.

“We will continue our efforts in partnership with all stakeholders in the private and public sectors. We extend our gratitude to Governor Torres, Lt. Governor Hocog, the Senate, and the House for their continued support and for ensuring the MVA is adequately funded, so that we are able to carry out our mission of promoting the CNMI to the world,” he added.

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres commended MVA and its tourism partners for their continual work and collaboration.

“This global recognition of our islands is the result of the hard work done by MVA, our hotel partners in HANMI, and our small and large business leaders. I commend all of them and our entire community for making the Marianas one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world,” he said.

Governor Torres noted that the accomplishment is “for all of us to share and that we should not take it for granted.”

“It wasn’t too long ago when our tourism industry was struggling with low arrivals and record- low revenue. But our economy has picked up, and people now have more to take care of themselves. This progress we are seeing now is the result of all of us working together to make this happen.”

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